Evangel Christian finishes fourth in NACA tournament

FROM STAFF REPORTS

The Evangel Christian School girls’ basketball team took its undefeated record to the prestigious National Association of Christian Athletics Division II tournament in Dayton, Tenn., last week, and came back with a couple of losses before earning fourth place in the tournament.

The Lightning beat the Middle Tennesee Heat in the first round, 52-49, in overtime March 1.

Evangel led by 16 points at the half, only to see the Heat whittle away at the lead until finally taking a two-point lead of its own with 18 seconds left. However, Abby Letson’s basket with seven seconds left sent the game to overtime, and her three free throws in the extra period led the Lightning to the victory.

Letson had 18 points to lead Evangel, while Katherine Stockman had 17 and Rainey Ketcham added 12.

In the second game March 2, Evangel trailed by as many as 16 points against eventual champion Upstate (S.C.) Homeschool before making a fourth-quarter comeback and taking a six-point lead with a little more than a minute left. The Eagles then waged a comeback of their own, banking in a 3-pointer to tie, and then making a steal and basket. A final Evangel attempt at the buzzer rimmed out, as Upstate handed the Lightning their first loss of the season 47-46. Letson and Ketcham paced Evangel with 16 points apiece.

On March 4, Letson had 26 points and Ketcham 16 points and six assists to lead the Lightning to a 55-39 win over Faith Academy from Fredericksburg, Va.

The Lightning lost a quirky tie-breaker following the pool play that kept them out of the championship game, and instead ended up playing Faith again March 5.

Evangel lost 50-41, ending their season with a 21-2 record.

Stockman had 14 points and Letson 13 to lead Evangel.

Letson, Stockman and Ketcham were all named all-tournament, and Letson was also voted most outstanding offensive player in the tournament.